Brussels: US Ambassador to the EU Sonland said that Washington has not yet used all the tools, including sanctions, to try to block the construction of the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.
Gordon Sonland stated this on Wednesday, November 14th, speaking at the Center for European Politics in the capital of Belgium, which also houses the main offices of the European Union and NATO.
According to Voice of America, answering the question whether the American leader can take further measures to thwart the project, Sonlend said: “We have not yet used the entire set of tools that could significantly undermine the project if we did not stop it completely."
He also expressed the hope that “Opponents of this project will work organically, because the EU and its member countries agree that dependence on Russian energy is not a good long-term geopolitical solution. "
Recall that earlier, US President Donald Trump stated that the gas pipeline would increase the dependence of the EU countries on Moscow in the energy sector, and in August he signed a law imposing sanctions on the gas pipeline, which, according to Gazprom, could slow down some of its projects.
Currently, construction continues with the participation of some large EU companies, despite opposition from many EU countries and the EU leadership. Germany, which is the destination of the pipeline, supports the project, considering it a private enterprise.
Last week, during a visit to Poland, which is a sharp critic of Nord Stream 2, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry stated that Trump leaves the possibility of imposing sanctions.
Washington does not specify what they can be, but the US can undermine the project, for example, punishing large multinational firms that participate in it.
Sonland stated today that the United States rejection of this project is not based on hopes to increase US gas exports to Europe, but on fears that Russia may increase its influence on key NATO allies by controlling energy supplies.
“We don’t want someone to turn off gas in the middle of winter during a political crisis,” he said. “When Europe is vulnerable, the US is also vulnerable, and we don’t want to be in that position,” he said, adding: “If this philosophy is not adopted and the construction of the Nord Stream continues, the president has many others the tools at his disposal — I will not list them — in order to try to contain and stop the project. ”
The statements of the US ambassador were immediately challenged by the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller. He told the Kommersant newspaper that the United States is not in a position to stop the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. “Well, you see everything yourself - 200 km have already been built. And the rest will be completed, ”Miller said on the sidelines of the Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that the new US anti-Russian sanctions would harm relations between the two countries.
“It’s hard to say what the sanctions will be,” the Kremlin spokesman said in an interview with the Dozhd TV channel. - Will they lead to further complication of the situation with Russian-American relations? The answer is unequivocal: of course they will. ”
“The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is also not a secret to anyone, everyone is already talking about this absolutely openly, because this unpredictability in the performance of the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, of course, is a subject of deep concern to all”, - added Sands.
Recall that the total construction cost of the Nord Stream 2 is 9.5 billion euros. At the same time, Gazprom is the only shareholder in the project, who bears half of these costs. The western partners of Gazprom are the German companies Uniper and Wintershall, the Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, the French Engie and the Austrian OMV.
Last week, the Court in Switzerland banned Nord Stream AG, the owner of which is Nord Stream, and Nord Stream 2 AG, the construction operator of which is Nord Stream 2, to make payments to Gazprom. It was reported by the press center of the Russian company.
It was noted that this decision was taken as a temporary measure to carry out a claim against the Ukrainian Naftogaz. Consequently, all cash receipts from these companies will be made indirectly, not to the official accounts of a Russian company, but to Swiss bailiffs.